Monday, September 07, 2009

Mailbox Monday-- How Long's This Going to Last?

My streak of sending out more books than I receive continues. This past week, I sent 5 books to new Paperback Swap foster homes and received 3. I'm creating gaps on the TBR shelves, so I'll be able to do some re-shelving soon...that is, unless a ton of books on my PBS wish list all become available at once!

Here's the rundown of what appeared in my mailbox:

--Consequences of Sin by Clare Langley-Hawthorne (PBS). I'm pretty sure it was Bernadette's review that led me to track this one down. "Ursula Marlowe is not a typical Edwardian heiress. An Oxford graduate who hopes to become a journalist and an active suffragette, she is a disappointment to her father, a self-made magnate who would like his daughter to marry and settle down. When one of her friends is accused of murdering another woman, the friend calls Ursula for help. With assistance from her father's lawyer, Lord Wortham, she begins investigating and, in the face of overwhelming evidence against her friend, finds indications of a sinister plot that endangers herself and her family. This debut novel introduces an intriguing new female sleuth with broad appeal. An action-packed plot, rich period detail, and a bit of romance will ensure that readers of cozies and historical mysteries will find much to enjoy."

--Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton (PBS). "Tora Hamilton, an obstetrician recently relocated to the Shetlands with her husband, a native of the region, is digging on her property when she discovers the body of a young woman. Pathologists determine that the body is not ancient, as was first supposed, but contemporary. Further investigation reveals that the victim died within days of giving birth and that her heart had been cut from her body. As Tora begins to investigate, she is warned off by the police, her hospital colleagues, and even her husband. With the help of another outsider, a police detective also new to the area, she discovers further anomalies: Why does the death rate of young women in the Shetlands spike every three years? As she comes closer to the truth, the connection to ancient lore emerges, and the Shetlands, once so tranquil and charming, turn menacing and deadly, much in the manner of the English moors when a certain Baskervillean hound was on the loose. Bolton combines rich history, precise forensic detail, and breathtaking use of landscape in what is a stunning blend of medical thriller and creepy Gothic suspense tale."

--Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America's Premier Mental Hospital by Alex Beam (PBS). This might seem a rather strange choice of reading, but if you knew that (1) my mother had a nervous breakdown when I was a baby, was hospitalized and underwent electro-shock therapy, and (2) I once did volunteer work in a mental hospital, it probably won't seem quite so odd. "Alex Beam's Gracefully Insane is a knowledgeable historical portrait of New England's McLean Hospital, until recently the mental institution equivalent of the Plaza Hotel. Fenceless and unguarded, McLean's grounds were landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted. Amenities included tennis courts, a golf course, room service, and a riding stable. As one director said, "If you don't know where you are, then you're in the right place." Its patients have included James Taylor, Robert Lowell, and Ray Charles. It also looms large in The Bell Jar and Girl, Interrupted, written by former patients Sylvia Plath and Susanna Kaysen. Beam weaves patients' and employees' stories with an informal review of mental health treatments through the years, including lobotomies, insulin-induced comas, ice-water baths, and a ghastly device called the "coercion chair." Gracefully Insane is amiable, lively, and honest. Its many anecdotes (derived from patient records, journals, and interviews) are by turns poignant, humorous, and unsettling."

There you have it! A big Thank You to Marcia of The Printed Page for hosting this meme. If you'd like to see what others received in their mailboxes, just click on the redhead with the flirty skirt at the top of this post. Come back next week to see if I've fallen off the wagon and done the Amazon One-Click!


  1. Looking good, and congrats on the shortlisting at BBAW Cathy :)

  2. Wish I could follow your example Cathy (I acquire more than I can get rid of). Hope you enjoy Sacrifice - I loved that one (I love remote location books). And yes congrats on your nomination - I've already voted for ya

  3. I really need to join a paperback swap site soon!

  4. I agree it is a great practice of giving away more than you take in (trying to get rid of a bunch of clutter at my house so I might try this).

    Gracefully Insane sounds really interesting -- I had heard about this hospital and would be interested in learning more about it.

    Here is my list if you want to visit

  5. I'd love to read Graceully Insane and also read your thoughts on it. I am always very interested in and touched by the fates of people who struggle with mental illnesses.

  6. Good going! I'm very impressed. I, however, continue to accumulate.

    Love the look of the blogroll and now will have to make changes on my blog: next weekend's task.

  7. I need to take some lessons from you - mine are coming in faster than going out. :)

  8. Oh, I enjoyed Sacrifice so much! A wonderful thriller, I think.

  9. I haven't heard of any of these books...looks like a great haul.

    Happy reading.

  10. I was wondering about Gracefully Insane. Your poor mom - she had a lot going on when you were a baby.

  11. Cathy - Consequences of Sin sounds like a great book - hope it is really good. :)

    ~ Wendi

    PS - I know it has been a while, but I love your new blog look!

  12. Blodeuedd-- You have the distinction of being the first person to let me know. That certainly woke me up this morning!

    Bernadette-- I think you're the reason why I tracked down Sacrifice, too. Thanks for the vote!

    Vivienne-- The right swap site can be a godsend!

    DC-- I either had to re-mortgage the house to build a second floor library, or share the wealth so there would be room to bring in more. I couldn't afford the first option! :)

    Lilly-- I don't think it will be sitting on the shelf very long!

    Beth-- I tweaked the blog roll a bit more. I decided those icons weren't doing anything for me!

    Sheila-- Mine usually do, too!

    Dorte-- You and Bernadette will probably have me picking up Sacrifice very soon!

    Serena-- I'm looking forward to cracking all three open. :)

    Kathy-- Yes, she did. Wife at 18, mother at 19, widow at 20. Then throw in TB and a nervous breakdown. I don't see how she managed to pull through it all!

    Wendi-- Thanks! I'm glad you like the new look.

  13. Gracefully Insane immediately caught my eye. I hope you'll let us know your thoughts when you get to that one. My mailbox post is here.

    Diary of an Eccentric


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